Today I met a lovely woman whose face had erupted in itchy pus-filled acne. Tiny pus-filled white heads, black heads and red swollen bumps on two-thirds of her face. Lyla had occasional breakouts but nothing like this, until 2 weeks ago.
After our consultation I made a few recommendations.
Switch to a mild homecare routine.
Keep a food journal. Review what happened right before the flareup.
Look for any changes in stress levels, skincare or routines.
I recommended she should keep her appointment with her MD.
And when her skin calmed I could perform facials and skin treatments to clear and rebalance her skin.
I've listed my detailed recommendations below. This information is useful should you encounter a similar situation. Please let me know if you have any questions and if this info was helpful.
Could it be food related?
Yes. But the itchy breakouts would be more of a skin reaction, sensitivity or allergy.
It is possible to develop a food allergy as we get older. I can't eat walnuts anymore even though I loved them as a treat when I was a kid. But Lyla had no know allergies, yet.
A medical allergy test can be expensive. And it isn't always approved by insurance. Another option is to start a food journal. When you get a skin reaction look at the foods you ate 1 to 2 days prior and make a note. Over time you may find the common food culprit. And if you avoid that food the reactions should stop.
Use an acne medicine?
No! Acne breakouts don't itch, nor appear en masse overnight. If it's an allergy breakout the skin is super sensitized. Anything aggressive on the skin will create a rash reaction, further irritating it.
What to do?
Focus on calming the inflammation and irritation. Simple items you already have at home will come in handy.
1. Gentle Cleanser.
Nothing harsh, exfoliating or scrubbing ingredients. Avoid any brightening, antiaging or acne cleansers. The ingredients will be too active and overwhelming. A gentle face wash for sensitive, and irritated skins is best.
A mild cleanser like our PURE CLEANSE will clean the skin without a residue or dryness.
2. Hydrocortisone cream
Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on itchy areas of the skin. Use at night to reduce itching and the chance of you scratching at your skin while you sleep. Apply your moisturizer over it.
3. Mild Moisturizer
Again avoid any active ingredients, essential oils and fragrance. Skin your brightening, anti-aging or acne medicine moisturizers.
A mild moisturizer will maintain skin hydration so your skin can heal itself. Our Sheer oil Free with Aloe is great for oily skin. Power Hydrator with calming green tea is good for combo to dry.
4. Ice it
This is where our Arctic Ice Rollers come to the rescue. Ice down your inflamed skin at twice a day. Roll over your skin until it is cool to the touch. Also use it anytime the skin feels itchy to reduce the sensation. Follow with your hydrocortisone cream and moisturizer.
5. Limit and Avoid Sun
If your skin can tolerate an spf use it daily. Also wear a hat and stay out of the sun. Why? Sun on traumatized skin can intensify the irritation and create hives. Not an improvement.
Follow this protocol for 7 to 10 days. Or until you get to see your MD to discover the cause.
Can I take Benadryl if it's an allergy?
ASK YOUR DOCTOR. Before taking any medication check with your MD. They may suggest it, if they believe you're skin is haveing a histamine response to an allergy. Be careful self medicating. We're only guessing that it's an allergy at this stage.
What else can cause these breakouts?
There are several possibilities. Here are a few more common ones.
Stress can cause a severe skin reaction. Following the gentle skin routine for up to 2 weeks will help. As will meditation practice. Massage, relaxation, sleep. For severe conditions - life coaching, support groups or psychotherapy are smart options.
2. Cosmetic Dermatitis
This is a fancy medical word for skin irritated by surface ingredients. This includes expired makeup, skincare or old makeup brushes. Bacteria builds ups in them. Then when you apply it on your skin it attacks your skin. Toss old products and brushes. And see your MD as you may need antibiotics.
3. Topical allergies
That lotion that you applied, even if you've used it for years, is reacting on your skin. You can develop allergies later in life. And you can be allergic to ANYTHING. Stop using it for a week. Then test in on a small area near your ear. Test it for 3 days. If you get a reaction in that area you may have developed a sensitivity or allergy to your product.
What to avoid?
Already mentioned it. Will say it again. Sun exposure could lead to hives and further irritation.
Cool down your showers, skip Jacuzzis, hot tubs and hot baths. Heat leads to more inflammation.
3. Perfumes and Essential oils.
Most people know that perfumes are bad on irritated skin. But the same is true for most essential oils. Raw, irritated skin does not need the VOCs found in essential oils applied to it.
4. Active ingredients
This is a repeat too. But skip any product with active ingredients for anti-aging, skin brightening and acne. Nothing for dark spots or exfoliation. Essential oils are also active so fall in this category as well.
5. Don't Pick.
It is tempting to pick on the breakouts but these aren't your usual breakouts. Dont pick. DO ICE.
And if you do "accidentally" pick on the pustule and leave a open wound, apply neosporin. An antibiotic ointment like neosporin or polysporin will protect the raw skin. And the area will heal better with less chance of scarring or leaving a dark spot.
Once the skin has calmed down, and the doctor gives their ok, we can schedule a facial. A facial will clear out any remaining pustules and blackheads. And we can smooth the skin getting back into balance. Sometimes it may take a couple of facials to completely clear up the skin. A healing blue light therapy is also an option to enhance and speed the healing.
Do you have any questions about your skin? Email me. Or schedule your own Skin Analysis and Consultation Appointment.